Every Eastern European country has their own way of making stuffed cabbage. My mother used to make it the Moldovian/Romanian way, with lots of greenery like parsley, dill, scallions and cubes of beef and she incorporate a bit of the middle eastern influence and used grape leaves and cabbage leaves to wrap the filling in. When I started dating my fiance, I realized how different the food was even though we spoke the same language. His parents made the "Galuptsi" using only cabbage leaves and stuffed it with ground pork, a bit of rice, cooked carrots and onions. Whereas my mother's galuptsi fell apart when you cut into them, my fiance's parents' were one big oval shaped ball, but they were so tender and delicious! Completely different but sooo good! Since my fiance grew up on this food I decided to please his palate and make them for him this way.
Many times when I tried to keep it healthier, I did substitute brown rice instead of white and used ground turkey instead of ground pork. BUT the result is not quite the same. I actually put my recipe into a calorie evaluator and it turns out each roll has about 145 calories. So honestly, it really was not that much of a difference when it came down to it in calories...but a HUGE difference in flavor!
I know the recipe may seem a bit daunting...but I promise it really is easy once you get the hang of things. Not to mention filling and delicious! Serve them with a dollop of sour cream, some crusty bread and a simple cucumber, tomato and red onion salad and I promise you will be asking for more!
"Galuptsi" Ukranian Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
1.5 Pounds Ground Pork 1/2 Cup Rice 6 Large Carrots 2 Large Onions 1/2 Cup Tomato Puree 1 Head of Cabbage Salt and Pepper to Taste
1. Place cabbage in a pot of water over medium heat and allow to parboil for about an hour. You want the entire head to be covered, if necessary weigh it down with a plate. *This can be done 1 day ahead of time and stored in the fridge until ready to use* 2.Once cabbage leaves have cooled enough to handle, separate the leaves, making sure to cut the center core out of each one. 3.Add all the carrots and the onion into the food processor using the shredder attachment. *This can be done by a box grater of coarse, but I find the result is the same in the food processor and is so much faster.* 4.On medium heat, add olive oil to a saute or frying pan and cook the veggies with salt and pepper until they give off their juices, about 15-20 minutes. You do not want them to brown. Just sweat them nice and slow so all the flavors come out. 5.Place the pork, rice and 1/2 of the cooked veggies into a bowl. I usually put rubber gloves on and start combining this mixture by hand. 6.Lay out the cabbage leaves and place about 3 tablespoons of the mixture into each leaf. Roll it up like a burrito. *The amount of mixture you place in each leaf will depend on the size of your leaves, just use your best judgement on how much to place into it when in doubt. Make sure that the leaf covers all of the mixture and none of it is peaking out.* 7.On the bottom of a heavy bottomed pot, pour in half of the tomato puree and sprinkle in half of the remaining veggies. Layer the rolls on top of this and continue to layer the tomato puree and veggies until all the rolls are done. I usually have one big layer because I have a huge pot. 8.Cover with enough boiling water to reach almost the top, as pictured above. 9. Place in a 325-degree oven and cook for 1.5-2 hours or until meat is nice and tender!
Years ago, I followed my dreams and went to culinary school. I went to culinary school to continue the dream that my mother and I always shared: to open up a deli or cafe somewhere and call it our own. Whether that cafe will ever open is still up in the air...but my cooking and my love for food I owe to my mother...and in a way this blog is dedicated to her...I only hope that I can inspire other women with this blog the way my mother inspired me...With her love for food passed onto me, I quickly became a food snob after culinary school. Today, a house, a husband' (and his stomach),and an up and coming business keeps me busy enough without all my gourmet concoctions! But, no matter how busy I am, I still go to my kitchen and cook to retain my sanity. Prehaps this is a way I connect to my mother...but cooking is the only thing that truely soothes my soul. My recent transformation has led me to belive that sometimes you just have to Keep It Simple Stupid...and Cook!
I will not eat oysters. I want my food dead - not sick, not wounded - dead. ~Woody Allen
Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~Mark Twain
Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want. ~Gael Greene
Tell me what you eat, I'll tell you who you are. ~Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
And, of course, the funniest food of all, kumquats. ~George Carlin
Avoid fruit and nuts. You are what you eat. ~Jim Davis
The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again. ~George Miller
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. ~Harriet van Horne
Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon. ~Doug Larson
I didn't fight my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian. ~Anonymous
But those aren't the flavors. That'd make too much sense. Apple and pear, according to Dr. Phil, are body types the bars are made for. Hey, I've got some advice. If you look like an apple or a pear, eat an apple or a pear! [On Dr. Phil's energy bars. ~Lewis Black